Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Damascene Technique

via damascenetreasures.com
Last week, I briefly discussed Damascus steel.  The swirling vanadium ore in the blades of my djinn knights is exquisite, but swords aren't the only thing from Syria I find inspiring, of course.  The castle of the Knights Hospitaller,  Krak des Chevaliers , makes a cameo appearance in Burnt Amber and I have plans for a much longer sojourn in mind.  Until I can actually get the chance to visit Syria though, I'll have to content myself with the craftsmanship of other things Damascene I've collected over the years.

My favorite items are purely decorative. Besides Damascening metal, Intarsia , or the technique of inlaying metal, ivory or nacre into wood, is a Syrian specialty. You can find examples of similar work from Turkey or Egypt too.

The wood of choice is usually walnut, which contrasts the bright inlays nicely.  Possibly the most recognizeable use is the tavla backgammon board, but craftsmen also create beautiful (and extremely expensive) furniture. Geometric mosaic patterns are the most common, with floral scrolling mother-of-pearl a particularly Syrian design. I couldn't resist the opportunity to use a piece with the symbolic tulip motif in my writing.

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Hart Johnson said...

Beautiful stuff! I also really liked your goddess post.

Connie Keller said...

Thanks for the encouragement on my blog. Good Luck with the querying!


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